Pittsburgh Pirates Arbitration Breakdown: Juan Nicasio

In the coming weeks here at Rum Bunter we will be taking a look at each arbitration eligible player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We continue today with Juan Nicasio.

As Major League Baseball’s offseason begins, so does the decision making inside each of the 30 front offices. A big part of this decision making revolves around players that are arbitration eligible. Due to that, here at Rum Bunter we will take a look at each arbitration eligible Pirate in the coming days.

Today we take a look at player that started the season in the Pirates’ starting rotation, but would finish in the bullpen. That player is right-handed relief pitcher Juan Nicaiso.

The Pirates originally signed Nicasio to be part of their bullpen. But after dominating in Spring Training Nicasio started the year in the Pirates’ starting rotation. However, he struggled mightily as a starting pitcher.

During the 2016 season Juan Nicasio pitched a total of 118 innings. In these 118 innings pitched he averaged 10.53 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, he held opposing batters to a .254 batting average against, and he owned a WHIP of 1.37. This led to Nicasio posting a 4.50 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 3.68 xFIP, and a 1.3 WAR.

Nicasio’s overall numbers were great diluted by his struggles as a starting pitcher. He pitched 62 1/3 innings as a starting pitcher in 2016. In these 62 1/3 innings pitched he allowed 63 hits, his WHIP was 1.41, and opposing batters had a .489 slugging percentage and a .350 wOBA against Nicasio. He also averaged 3.61 BB/9, while allowing 1.59 HR/9. This all led to Nicasio owning a 5.05 ERA, 4.72 FIP, and a 4.27 xFIP as a starting pitcher.

As a relief pitcher, however, Juan Nicasio was much better. In 55 2/3 innings pitched out of the bullpen Nicasio averaged 12.13 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9, and he owned a 1.33 WHIP. Opposing batters slugged just .387 off of him, with just a .307 wOBA when he was coming out of the bullpen. As a result Nicasio posted a 2.73 FIP and a 3.03 xFIP as a relief pitcher.

Nicasio throws a mid-to-high 90s fastball and he also features a wipe out slider. This combination makes him a deadly relief pitcher. Furthermore, he gives Clint Hurdle great flexibility out of the bullpen. He can give the Pirates length, pitch in middle relief, or be used as a back of the bullpen power arm.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Nicasio is projected to earn 4.6 million dollars in arbitration this offseason. Nicasio is more than worth that as a relief pitcher. In fact, his overall 1.3 WAR this past season was worth approximately 6.3 millions dollars.

Tendering Juan Nicasio a contract this offseason is, of course, a no brainer. Nicasio is one of the arbitration eligible players that is one hundred percent guaranteed to be tendered a contract. The only question is how much will Nicasio make?

Previous arbitration breakdowns:

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